Bucks (21-19) 95, Knicks (5-36) 79
Different country, same old Knicks.
NYK and the Bucks squared off in London on Thursday. The game tipped off at 8 pm in O2 Arena, allowing fans here in the US to tune in for a rare 3 pm start time. Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire returned to New York’s lineup after each missed a solid chunk of games; however, their play couldn’t inspire the first Knicks win since December 12th.
Brandon Knight (20 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 6 steals) and OJ Mayo (22 points) led the way for Milwaukee on the offensive end. The Greek Freak chipped in with 16 points, 5 boards and 2 steals. Melo didn’t appear to be rusty, shooting 7-12 from the floor for 25 points to go along with 3 steals. Amar’e, on the other hand, was scoreless in 8 minutes of play.
Rockets (28-12) 112, Thunder (18-20) 101
James Harden for MVP? The NBA’s leading scorer was Mr. Efficient at home last night, dropping 31 points on 9-15 shooting. He barely missed out on a triple double, adding 10 dimes and 9 rebounds.
The Thunder allowed 40 points in the first quarter, which marks the most they’ve allowed in a period since moving to Oklahoma City in 2008. Six Rockets, including all five starters, scored in double figures. Dwight Howard posted 13 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals and Trevor Ariza finished with 17 points and 4 steals. However, OKC’s central issue was its inability to stop Harden.
Despite their defensive woes, the Thunder were sound on the other side of the ball. Kevin Durant had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Russell Westbrook put up 16 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals. Dion Waiters had his best game as a part of the Thunder with 16 points and 2 blocks (he did shoot 6-16, though). Reggie Jackson contributed with 16 points, 6 boards and 6 assists (should OKC be looking to move him?).
Cavaliers (20-20) 109, Lakers (12-28) 102
The Cavaliers snapped their six-game losing skid and improved to .500 in what was likely one of the final duels ever between Kobe and King James.
The matchup had an all-star game feel, as Bryant and James exchanged words and jokes throughout the night. Despite the Black Mamba dropping a career high in assists (17), the Cavs improved to 20-20 on the season behind LeBron’s 36 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Kyrie Irving added 22 points and 2 steals, Kevin Love had 17 and 7 and newly acquired JR Smith scored 14. In addition to facilitating, Kobe also put up 19 points and 7 boards; the only other Laker to impress was Jordan Hill (20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals). Nick Young shot just 4-13 from the floor. It wasn’t smooth sailing for Cleveland—the game was close throughout. LeBron now has a record of 14-6 all-time in matchups with Kobe. James’ shot selection was questionable at times on Thursday night, but overall, he played outstandingly. Passes such as the one below cannot go underappreciated: